15 Cameras put animals in the spotlight

Earlier this year the team from the LIFE+ OZON project, focused on defragmentation of the Sonian Forest, placed 15 cameras around existing and future passages under the Brussels Ring road and the E411. These are providing a unique look at the animals making use of these ecological thoroughfares.

Vos (LIFE+ OZON)The European LIFE+ OZON project is taking action to help reduce the fragmentation of the Sonian Forest. By 2017, there will be eight new wildlife passages over and under places where the highway crosses the woods, including a 60-metre wide eco duct. Nearby, 18 existing tunnels and passages are being renovated to make it easier for bats, foxes, badgers and other animals to pass.

Earlier this year the team from LIFE+ OZON placed 15 cameras around the entrances and exits to existing and future passages under the Brussels Ring road and the E411. According to Project leader Steven Vanonckelen, “the cameras are there to verify the types and numbers of animals that are already using existing tunnels and passages. Once the project is complete, it will be possible to see whether the improvements have indeed been effective in helping the animals.”

3000 images

The cameras detect all movement within their range. Any motion detected triggers a camera to take three photos. That can mean up to 3000 images per month per camera. “It’s a Herculean task for the forest rangers to analyse all the data,” acknowledges Steven Vanonckelen. In addition to the cameras, snake plates are also being fitted. They are there to identify which amphibians and reptiles seek shelter around the tunnels. Insect traps have also been installed to find out which types of insects are present. The next planned measure will be to set up bat detectors to monitor the bat population.

More info: www.sonianforest.be/lifeozon/